Media outlets and academics unite to prevent extinction of Syriac language

BETH NAHRIN — Syriac-speaking media outlets and TV channels in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and elsewhere are playing a crucial role in spreading and academically teaching the Syriac language to prevent its extinction.

Despite facing political turmoil and terrorist attacks that have plagued the region in recent years, the Christian community in Syria and Iraq has remained resilient, refusing to let go of the Syriac language.

Suroyo TV, IMN-Syriac, and other channels have dedicated substantial effort and resources to the preservation of the Syriac language and provide academic instruction to the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people. Syriac is not only spoken in homes, schools, and streets but also nurtured and promoted through these media platforms.

However, despite the presence of Syriac speakers, including writers and religious leaders, Kawthar Najib Askar, the head of the Syriac Language Department at Salah al-Din University in Erbil, Iraq, warns of the potential disappearance of Syriac due to neglect.

Recognizing the urgency to safeguard Syriac heritage, over 10,000 Syriac manuscripts are currently preserved at the Erbil Digital Center for Eastern Manuscripts. In a collaborative effort supported by the United Nations, the United States, and the Dominican Order, these manuscripts have been digitally preserved to prevent their extinction, according to Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul and Aqrah, Michael Najeeb, as reported by Agence France Presse.

Several media outlets actively contribute to the preservation and promotion of the Syriac language. Suroyo TV, Suroyo FM, Ishtar TV, and Ashur TV, alongside numerous radio stations, websites, and social media platforms, broadcast programs exclusively in the Syriac language, helping to cultivate a thriving Syriac-speaking community.